World and Nation

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Obama apologizes to Americans dropped by insurers

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama bowed Thursday night to mounting criticism that he misled the American people about the health care law, apologizing to people who were forced off their health insurance plans by the Affordable Care Act despite “assurances from me.”

In an interview with NBC News, Obama said that he had not done enough to ensure that the law did not force people out of insurance that they like.

“It means a lot to them. And it’s scary to them. And I am sorry that they, you know, are finding themselves in this situation, based on assurances they got from me,” Obama told NBC’s Chuck Todd in an interview in the Diplomatic Room of the White House. “We’ve got to work hard to make sure that we hear ‘em and that we’re going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this.”

—Michael D. Shear, The New York Times

Rejected seat on UN panel is considered by Jordan

UNITED NATIONS — Jordan is considering seeking the nonpermanent Security Council seat rejected last month by Saudi Arabia in a pique of anger at the United States, diplomats said Thursday.

The diplomats, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Jordan’s U.N. ambassador, Prince Zeid al-Hussein, was en route to Amman on Thursday night to confer with the country’s top officials about possibly replacing Saudi Arabia on the 15-member council — the most powerful and prestigious body in the United Nations.

“There are internal discussions taking place” among Arab states about who might replace the Saudis, one diplomat said.

The Saudis have yet to officially notify Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in writing that they have declined membership.

It was unclear whether countries may have to compete for the seat, which was rejected by Saudi Arabia on Oct. 18, an action that stunned the United Nations and even some Saudi diplomats. The seat was one of five that had to be filled for two-year terms starting in January. The Saudis had been elected a day earlier, along with Chad, Chile, Lithuania and Nigeria.

It was the first time that any country had rejected one of the 10 nonpermanent council seats. The five permanent seats are held by Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.

The Saudi decision, which could have been ordered only by King Abdullah, reflected his unhappiness over U.S. policy in the Middle East, most notably the embrace of diplomacy in the Syrian conflict and the move toward rapprochement with Iran, Saudi Arabia’s rival.

—Somini Sengupta, The New York Times